Adam Harrington Talks Latest TURN AMC Twist, Washington Betrayal & More
BY Jennifer Griffin
Published 8 years ago
Last night’s episode of AMC’s TURN: Washington’s Spies served up a double agent conundrum, as not one, but two supposed defectors appeared at Valley Forge with vital information for Washington. But whose intel was real and who was sent to discredit the other man? In the end, it didn’t really matter.
As Ben (Seth Numrich) struggled to uncover which of the two — wretched deserter Bill Shanks (Erik Jensen) or self assured and convincing officer Sutherland (Adam Harrington) — was the real defector, Andre was confidently playing both Ben and Washington for fools.
Sutherland, the actual double agent, went on to make his escape, stealing large volumes of Washington’s papers and murdering fan favorite Daniel Sackett (Stephen Root) in the process, having fooled not only Ben and Washington with his real purpose, but the hapless (and truthful) Shanks in the process also.
Is Daniel Sackett really dead? Has Washington been dealt an unrecoverable blow? Will Ben want revenge, and when will we see Harrington’s Officer Sutherland/Gamble again? ScreenSpy sat down with TURN’s latest recurring guest star to discuss last night’s pivotal episode and look ahead at what’s coming next.
ScreenSpy: It was so difficult to know which way things were going to go. We had two supposed defectors – Sutherland and Shanks – and both of them were so earnest and convincing with their own versions of the truth. It wasn’t until the very end that we began to suspect there was more to Sutherland than met the eye. Was that double cross fun to play, and did you know in advance that you were the double agent?
Adam Harrington: I didn’t know when I first read the script what I would ultimately be doing, so it was quite a shock to me — in a good way. I thought it was a lot of fun. The director [Keith Boak] had shot scenes with Erik first. I then came in and shot my scenes next. He wanted to be sure that both performances would balance each other out and one wouldn’t indicate anything more than the other. We wanted things to look as truthful as possible for this man who, on the surface, wanted to defect and come over to the other side.
SS: TURN: Washington’s Spies is one of our favorite summer TV shows at the moment. AMC does great TV. In TURN, there’s a huge amount of attention to detail from the costumes, to the accents to the sets and props. What was it like to be part of that experience?
Adam Harrington: Unbelievable. One of the best experiences I’ve ever had working. The cast couldn’t have been nicer. The producers and director were all fantastic. You mentioned costumes. I think my costume was actually sourced from England. To make a show like this they have to make things as authentic as they can. There’s only certain costume houses that design these costumes, and they all came from overseas. It was just amazing. I’m such a fan of the show. It was so much fun to be involved in it.
SS: you made quite the entrance, walking out of the woods and into Valley Forge, one red coat in a sea of blue.
Adam Harrington: Where we shot that, that was all real. The actually recreated Valley Forge. There must have been 20 tents and working campfires. A lot of times a campfire will just be a propane thing that’s hidden, but these were all real. There was a guy coming through setting them all up. There were oxen, there were guys with simulated frost-bite, the cabins were full size. It was phenomenal. Walking out on the woods onto that set was fantastic. Everyone was singing that song, you could smell the campfires burning. It was very easy to play that sense that I was trudging through the woods for a while.
SS: Is Daniel Sackett really dead?
Adam Harrington: That will have to be wait and see.
SS: Well I hope he’s not because I really like him!
Adam Harrington: So do I [laughing]. I’ve been a fan of Stephen Root for many years so when I came in and saw that I attack him, I was “What? No! Not Stephen!”
SS: Sutherland, or Gamble as we should call him now, escaped with large volumes of intel. Can you tease anything about where and when we’ll see him next? Will he make it back to Major Andre or will Ben make it his personal mission to stop him before he does?
Adam Harrington: I’m not allowed to tell you when I’m back, but Gamble has proven himself to be not at all who he portrayed himself to be. Now he’s attacked Daniel Sackett, and who knows where he’s gone, but you will find out.
SS: Will he be keeping his accent, or was that part of his ruse?
Adam Harrington: [Laughing] He’s authentically Irish.
SS: I heard you have Irish ancestors. What was it like for you doing the accent? Did you have to do much work to get it down?
Adam Harrington: There are a variety of accents in Ireland. I tried to find one that my ear responded to, and that the audience would be able to understand. I also worked with an accent coach. I knew the show I was walking into, and I know everybody is bang on with their accents. I thought if I was going to portray this guy I didn’t want to offend the audience that is Irish, and I didn’t want to step on the toes of my relatives who had come from there. I thought, if you’re going to do it, do it right.
SS: As an Irish person, I thought you did a pitch perfect version of a Cork or Kerry accent.
Adam Harrington: That’s a huge compliment because I did want him Southern. This is the first time I’ve ever worked with an Irish accent on screen and I loved it. I’m very flattered that you heard it and that it worked, because that was really important to me — especially walking into an AMC show, but also just because if I’ve got relatives that came from Ireland, I should as sure as hell be able to put on the accent! [laughing].
SS: As a Canadian did you have to brush up on your Revolutionary War history? … because I know I did!
Adam Harrington: [Laughing] So I had done a little research before. Being Canadian, growing up in our system, you do learn a lot about American history. We we shot this in Richmond Virginia, which is very close to Jamestown and Williamsburg, and of course once I got there I made time to go and familiarize myself with what was going on at the time.
Williamsburg has an amazing and quite extensive historical museum — but actually it’s villages — laid out in about ten square blocks. It’s called Colonial Williamsburg. It’s an amazing place to go visit. They’ve rebuilt it with all the houses. There’s a machine shop, a gun depot, a guy that makes shoes — it’s all there in this amazing place.
SS: Has trusting Gamble been a huge blow to Washington’s confidence?
Adam Harrington: I thought the way the episode ended was just fantastic. I definitely think from Gamble’s point of view, if you’re going to be so bold as to walk into the enemy camp, manipulate the people around you, attack somebody who is obviously so close to them, and get out, having all that subterfuge work, part of your plan is to mess with people’s heads and shake their confidence.
I’m so excited to see how the rest of the season goes. Also, for Ben [Seth Numrich], there’s a complete sense of betrayal, and a sense that he kind of had the wool pulled over his eyes purely because he didn’t trust his own instincts. It’s going to be really interesting to see how that plays out.
TURN: Washington’s Spies continues on AMC, Mondays at 10/9c.